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According to the Brazilian sociologist, Gilberto Freyre, Franciscan nominalism constituted the scientific training of Europeans, especially the Portuguese. This was particularly true with reference to the fifteenth-century discoveries that led to the formation of a tropical Portuguese civilization. In the writer’s opinion, nominalism was fertile ground for developing a certain European concept of “art” that would enable Europeans living in the tropics to acknowledge styles of art different from those found in European practice and thinking. Freyre adds that this understanding came to contradict the European ideal of a universal art that prevailed at the time. This laid the groundwork for the ideal of an integrated, symbiotic art characterized by the understanding that certain forms of art and life are in full harmony with each other, whether within a culture or at the heart of a civilization. As Franciscan nominalists by training, the Portuguese were prepared to be open to diversity. Their response to it was to experiment in the development of empirical knowledge rather than trying to maintain any idea of aesthetic universalism. That was why they felt the pull of the tropics.
De acordo com Freyre, o nominalismo franciscano foi a preparação científica dos europeus e, particularmente, dos portugueses, para as descobertas do século XV, que levaram à formação de uma civilização luso-tropical. O nominalismo estaria na origem de uma concepção européia de Arte, que tornaria possível aos europeus nos Trópicos o reconhecimento de estilos de arte diversos daqueles das artes européias. Freyre acrescenta que esta compreensão contraria o ideal europeu de uma arte universal, vigente até então, e o predispõe a uma arte integrativa e simbiótica, caracterizada pela compreensão de que formas de arte e formas de vida estão sempre em correspondência dentro de uma cultura ou de uma civilização. Sobretudo os portugueses, nominalistas franciscanos de formação, estariam predispostos a experimentar o desenvolvimento de um saber empírico em torno desta diversidade contra qualquer idéia de universalismo estético, tendo estes se deixado atrair pelos Trópicos.
Gilberto [de Mello] Freyre (1900-87) worked as a sociologist, anthropologist, historian, writer, and journalist. From the start, he was highly conscious of the great geographic and cultural distances that separated his region from the political and economic centers, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. As early as 1926, he proposed for his city, Recife, the “Primeiro Congresso Regionalista do Nordeste” (see the manifesto in [doc. no. 1074787]). This was an event that defended aspects of the culture and customs of his region (northeastern Brazil). This therefore was the origin of his desire to offer suggestions for a new concept of “tropicalism,” which he had the opportunity to return to decades later in a lecture at the Faculdade de Letras de Coimbra (Portugal). He points out the pejorative meanings so often attributed to the term, used to designate qualities of crassness, disorder, coarseness, and primitivism, in open opposition to the idea of “civilization” claimed by a refined Europe (see “Em tôrno de um novo conceito de tropicalismo” [doc. no. 1075041]). That is how Freyre came to propose certain interpretations of man, objects, and tropical landscapes, going beyond ethnographic curiosities, the picturesque, and the exotic. In another text in which the writer places a priority on the regional value of the painting (strictly tropical), “Da arte e do trópico” [doc. no. 1075251], the example Freyre uses is the work of Flávio de Carvalho. Regarding the way painters relate to tropical light, he speaks up in defense of Candido Portinari [doc. no. 1075199].
FREYRE, Gilberto. O reflexo do nominalismo nas artes hispano-tropicais. In: FREYRE, Gilberto. Vida, forma e cor. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1962. p.271-282.
b- Busca, construção e expressão de aspectos locais
b- Valores Tropicais